This week I have had the privilege of preaching eight times at Heritage Christian Academy in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey for the 2008-2009 Spiritual Emphasis week. (I also had the privilege of preaching in chapel last Friday at Faith Baptist School in Salisbury, Maryland and three time on Sunday at Mosherville Bible Church in Mosherville, Pennsylvania, to make for 12 times in the last 8 days.)
I love to preach and I love to preach to our folks here in Salisbury, but I also love it when the Lord gives me opportunity to preach at a different location and (having served in youth ministry from 1990-2003) preaching to young people is a special joy.
The theme for the week was "profit that matters" with a theme verse of Mark 8:36
Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Heritage Christian Academy is a great school that is led by Mr. Ron Hamilton (no, not THAT Ron Hamilton). Mr. Hamilton (whome I knew as "Pastor Ron") was my Youth Pastor at Heart to Heart Bible Church in Phoenix, Arizona when I was a fairly new believer in Christ as a teenager. Pastor Ron's influence in my life has been an ongoing and profound. As a teenager, his life and consistent faithfulness for Christ were an example and challenge to me - a challenge to me that has continued to this day. In addition to the overall effect of his life, he also helped me specifically in giving me a chance to preach as a teenager and helping me to prepare my first "real" sermon and a sermon I heard by him as a teenager encouraged me that God can use me, despite (perhaps because of) the weak vessel that I am.
It was also a special treat to me to see a number of my former teens who are now serving the Lord by teaching at Heritage Christian Academy and helping out in other ways in the ministry there at Heritage Baptist Church. There were four teachers at the school who had been in my youth groups at various times in their lives. This fact was encouragement to me - but it also made me feel very OLD. To see Pastor Ron's daughter Beth (a 24-year old nurse at the same hospital in New Jersey where my wife worked for 9 years) especially made me feel old, since I knew her when she was still in a car seat when I was a teenager in Arizona and she was later in my youth group there at Heritage.
I also had the privilege of meeting up with some other friends and students from years gone by. It was an exciting week. Thank you to all who made the time enjoyable.
Just my thoughts,